The Wednesdays decision of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet to wipe out the hideouts of terrorists with pre-emptive strikes says a lot about the response time our authorities need to counter an existential threat to the country that has been staring us in the face for the past ten years. This line of action should have been clear to the meanest intelligence, right at the time the menace began to go out of hand. One should expect that then our intelligence network, without waiting for the DCCs stamp of approval, ought to have gone into full gear to locate the place from where militancy emanated. Attempts at dissuasion made through friendly tribesmen might have, in a large number of cases, worked, if the militants were proffered arguments such as that their real enemy was the invading forces and not Pakistan, which itself, unfortunately, was caught in a vice-like situation because of its geographical location. Those who remained recalcitrant, out to harm Pakistan could have been identified and eliminated. It is this approach that has to be followed even now. And it is in that context, Prime Minister Gilani should take necessary steps urgently to enhance our intelligence capabilities that he said, while chairing the DCC meeting, were needed. To convene DCC meetings, where the top brass and concerned political leadership put their heads together to sort out important issues, on a fortnightly basis was a good decision; for the people at present are sick and tired of hearing similarly-worded, banal assertions about ensuring the security of their life and property, while the militants keep striking. The outcome is the widespread feeling that the leadership is clueless. We hope that these meetings would review the situation periodically and take corrective steps wherever flaws are discovered. Despondency, which Mr Gilani strangely thinks is without any cause, can only go when the resolve to beat militancy starts bearing fruit. Positive outcome would prove that the recent demoralising events Abbottabad raid and Mehran loss have served as a compelling force to enter the defining phase in the struggle against terrorism, starting with persuasion, reconciliation and, if required, ending with elimination. From another end of the world, US President Obama, on a visit to England, and British Prime Minister Cameron have affirmed that they do not intend walking away from Pakistan 'reeling from terrorist attacks. The truth is that it is the presence of their troops in Afghanistan and CIA-operated drones that keep infusing new blood in the scourge of militancy. The best way to protect the interests of Pakistan and other countries in the region is for the US and NATO-led forces to pack up and go home. Let the local people evolve a strategy for peace and progress.